Teens drink a shocking 5kg of sugar every year

Young people in Mount Druitt took part in their own ‘Sweet Defeat’ project in 2017 with the WSLHD Population Health team.

One in six teenagers consume more than five kilograms of sugar every year just from sweetened drinks, according to a new study from Cancer Council Australia.

The organisation surveyed 9,000 high school students about their diets and exercise, and found that 22 per cent of teenage boys and 11 per cent of girls drink more than a litre of sugar-sweetened beverages every week.

This high consumption of sugar could lead to health problems including type 2 diabetes and tooth decay, according to Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Centre for Population Health deputy director Christine Newman.

“Most people don’t look at nutritional labels, so you might be fooled into thinking a sports drink is good for you when really it’s packed with sugar,” Christine said.

“The problem with these sugar-sweetened drinks is they’re just empty calories with absolutely no nutritional value.

“They may taste good but they serve no purpose besides contributing to weight gain and associated health issues, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Christine said it’s better for your waistline and your teeth to stick with water, and get your sugar kick from a more nutritional source – such as a piece of fruit.

Rethink your drink

  • Choose water – mums and dads, reach for water and show your kids to do the same
  • Cut back slowly – don’t try to change everything overnight. Try an unsweetened option for every second drink
  • Replace it – if you’re craving that fizzy sensation, try the occasional seltzer or sparkling water. Instead of sweetened milks, make your own fruit smoothie